Anti-social behaviour figures ‘misleading’ says Fife councillor

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More than 700 calls were made to police about incidents of antisocial behaviour in St Andrews in a year.

A total of 729 calls were made about incidents between the beginning of March 2017 and end of February 2018.

More than a third of these were complaints about noise, with 178 about public nuisance.

East Neuk and Landward councillor Linda Holt, who acquired the figures from Police Scotland through a freedom of information request, claimed residents were “left to suffer in silence as many are afraid to be branded “anti-student” if they complain”.

She added: “A community effort to achieve Purple Flag status for the town as well as the setting up of a town and gown forum with Fife Council might be routes to ensure some joined up thinking takes place to address the problem.”

Cllr Holt also accused a report made by the Safer Communities Team to councillors on the North East Fife Area Committee as “misleading”.

Under the headline ‘there is less antisocial behaviour and people feel confident about reporting incidents’, the report states that 50 antisocial behaviour e-forms were submitted to the team.

Cllr Holt said: “The Safer Communities Team update report gives a misleading picture of antisocial behaviour in St Andrews, downplaying the problem as a minor one that is reducing because internet reports are decreasing.

“This ignores other reasons why people may not be using e-forms to report incidents such as a loss of faith that such reporting has any effect. The report also ignores other sources of information – such as the police – where an FOI I submitted shows a very high level of reported incidents.”

Councillor Ross Vettraino, the convenor of the Environment, Protective Services and Community Safety Committee, said: “Antisocial behaviour is a growing concern in many parts of the country and it is important that each area committee is kept abreast of the local situation by way of regular reports, which, inter-alia, include details of the number of complaints received directly by the council.

“The complaints received by the Fire Service and the Police, usually by way of ’101’ calls, are reported separately to the committees to complete the picture across the entire Community Safety Partnership in Fife.

“It’s also important, should anyone be aware of antisocial behaviour, that they contact the Council via www.fifedirect.org.uk/safercommunities and, most importantly, call the police on 101 at the time that the anti-social behaviour is taking place.

“If anyone’s life or health is in danger, they should call 999.”